PA 4-H Poultry Project Leader Material available

A0930C Leader's Help Guide is available through extension distribution or on-line.

Help Guide for 4-H Leaders in Poultry Project

This guide was developed for leaders to use in their development of 4-H project activities. The purpose is to give you successful and useful project ideas which have been tried by others. However, these are only a few suggestions, and we hope they will enable you to think of additional ideas for project meetings and activities.

I. As a Leader

  1. Know what literature and materials (i.e., publications, activities, books, web sites, videos, slide sets, fact sheets, etc.) are available for leaders and members in all project areas.
  2. Decide how much time you can commit to the 4-H effort as a leader.
  3. Get to know each member’s family and home circumstances.
  4. Meet with members and their families. Help them become aware of the various directions the project can take.
  5. Get the members to set project goals at the beginning of each year.
  6. Develop your goals as a leader and share them with the members.

II. The Project

  1. Know what project direction your county and state offers. Include information on exhibits and contest possibilities at county fairs or club achievement days.
  2. Stress the importance of records.
    1. Financial
    2. Time – record what things were done
    3. Inventories
    4. Things observed or learned
  3. Consider the member’s goals and decide what project activities will best accomplish these goals. Try to get a “fit” between the project and member.

III. Beginning Project

  1. Get members off to the right start. Make sure they get the correct birds for their project (breeds, sex, age, quality).
  2. Consider the following before getting birds:
    1. Legal issues
    2. Economic
    3. Time
    4. Physical labor
    5. Human health factors
  3. Know sources of supply
    1. Equipment and supply
    2. Feed, medication
    3. Stock to meet members’ goals
    4. Information
  4. Decide at the beginning of the project how they plan to market surplus animals.

IV. Make the project a growing experience

  1. Structure project to advance over the years—general to specific.
  2. When considering what type and number of birds to start with, use the following guidelines:
    1. Start with chicks.
    2. Get 10 to 12 of each type to assure good selection and account for ratio of males and females.
    3. For the first year, start with no more than two breeds. If the member can afford time and cost, add one more breed each year.
    4. Bantams are better for younger members to handle.
    5. Get purebreds from a quality source.
  3. Useful project activities
    1. Project meetings
      a. Have advanced member or leader demonstrate or explain a process.
      b. Have each member report on various things observed or learned in the project since last meeting.
      c. Have members watch for stories in the newspaper, and on radio or TV, that are related to their project animals, and discuss at meetings.
      d. Have question/answer/discussion sessions at meetings.
      e. Visit a member’s farm.
      f. Fill out poultry record books properly as a group. Demonstrate best method to keep records.
      g. Develop a game that you can use to help teach aspects of project work—I spy, Matching, Bingo (terms).
    2. Trips or tours
      a. Poultry shows and swap meets
      b. Commercial firms, feed companies, hatcheries, breeding farms, processing plants, etc.
      c. Penn State’s Department of Poultry Science/labs, local humane society
    3. Sponsor and run a swap meet.
    4. Develop educational display for public events, malls.
    5. Operate information booth at county fair or science fair.
    6. Have a showmanship contest at meetings.
    7. Make equipment.
    8. Participate in Avian Bowl, judging, egg cookery, or poultry barbecue contests.
  4. Ideas for advanced members
    1. Leadership – Get involved teaching others.
    2. Poultry Science involvement – Run Independent Study
      a. Breeding/genetics
      b. Feed formulating
      c. Set up exhibit
      d. Judging contest
      e. Design and build equipment
      f. Marketing
    3. Demonstrations
      a. A process (ex., culling, washing, slaughter)
      b. A system (ex., egg formation, digestive tract)
      c. An influence (ex., light, feed, stresses)
      d. Informational
    4. Combine with other 4-H project areas
      a. Vet Science (health)
      b. Woodworking (equipment)
      c. Photography (records, person satisfaction)
      d. Foods
      e. Others?

Created By: Phillip J. Clauer, Senior Extension Associate, 4-H Youth and Small Specialty Flock